Tradesy is looking to test the company’s spin on the concept of showrooming next month when it opens a space on the ground floor of its Santa Monica headquarters.
The showroom, the company’s first go at such a concept, was designed to be a place for events, art exhibits and a showcase of rare fashion pieces. The company plans to hold an invite-only opening party Nov. 8, which will serve as the kick-off reception for a collaboration between the fashion resale site and Los Angeles artist Illma Gore. A bust of President Lincoln fashioned from Louis Vuitton leather and an American flag made of Hermès skins are among some of Gore’s pieces set to be on display.
“Illma to me is the future of the art world,” said Tradesy founder Tracy DiNunzio, who herself was a painter before starting the fashion site in 2011. Tradesy, which doesn’t disclose its financials, has since raised nearly $75 million since its founding.
DiNunzio pointed to some of Gore’s more recent pieces of work including a nude portrait of President Trump and a collaboration with Frances Bean Cobain that entailed the two tagging over Cobain’s own Marc Jacobs billboard on Melrose Place as examples of that future in which women are using their creativity to make social or political statements.
For DiNunzio, who said she hasn’t painted in a long time, Tradesy began as an art project with the idea of creating a universal closet for women that ended up turning into a viable business. Today, the founder said Tradesy is now her form of art and it’s become a mixed media with the business now projecting profitability in the current quarter for the first time since its founding and a delve into the bricks-and-mortar world via the showroom. The latter, she confirmed, holds greater implications beyond a single door with the space not existing to solely transact. That’s not the point, although visitors will have the ability to purchase some of the fashion items.
“From a business perspective, we’ve been increasingly building relationships with influencers, stylists and celebrities both here in Los Angeles and other markets and we really wanted to give those influencers a way to come to Tradesy, explore our personal collections of really rare, unique collectors’ vintage fashion items and have a place to connect with us and our brand and learn about what we’re doing,” DiNunzio said. “On the creative side, we’ve been collaborating with artists for a while and we had a recent collaboration with the artist Illma Gore in which she used materials from our in-house collection to create these powerful pieces and we felt like not only would it be great to show those pieces to the public but they’re really unique to the creativity inherent to the Tradesy brand.”
The showroom will open up to the public the weekend following the Nov. 8 private event for people to visit and shop the space. Moving forward, the space will be primarily by appointment or invitation only.
Digital brands have been exploring the showroom concept as more look for new revenue streams and try to figure out what formula works best for their brand in the physical world. Some, such as Reformation, have gone the more traditional route of stores infused with technology, while others such as Bonobos have product to try on in store that can then be purchased and delivered to customers’ homes. Tradesy’s entry into bricks-and-mortar is similar to Revolve’s Social Club on Melrose Avenue, which is largely for launch events or appointments with influencers.
While one part of the space is about partnering with artists or women-owned fashion brands that might sell product in the space — such as a local sunglasses and bag brand the company is currently in discussions with — the other part is about learning.
“We’re also going to be using this space as a little bit of a lab to work with our customers and learn about what they want and to test out different ways of making selling easier for our customers,” DiNunzio said. “So whether that means allowing them to bring things and drop them off to be sold or we’re working on personal styling capability. Because the first showroom space is right here within our headquarters, it’s a great opportunity for our team to get learnings about our customers and how we can better serve them.”
The company is now looking to launch a similar concept space in New York some time next year and is also considering the possibility of one in San Francisco.
“We love the idea of having a window,” DiNunzio said. “Our collection is so beautiful and rare, not just the art, but in terms of some of the fashion that we have. It’s everything from a fuchsia crocodile Birkin that we can’t tell if there’s even more than one in the world to a Louis Vuitton boxing set, so we really want to make sure we have window space in major metros to educate our customer.”
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